SQL Reporting Server – Self Certificate & Veeam ONE

Veeam One is a splendid Advanced Analysis and Reporting tool for virtual and backup environments.

In an Enterprise architecture, the Veeam One roles are distributed on different Servers.

Let’s talk about the DataBase ( MS-SQL ), the Reporting Server ( SSRS ) and obviously the Veeam ONE Server ( VOS )

In this article, I will illustrate how you can streamline your reporting by creating an encrypted connection between Veeam ONE and the Reporting Server at the same time.

The procedure consists of three macro phases.

  1. The first creates the certificate that enables the HTTPS encrypted connection on the SSRS server.
  2. In the second, you configure SSRS to accept HTTPS connections.
  3. In the third, we configure the Veeam ONE server to use SSRS for reporting.

1- Creation of the certificate

If there is no certificate authority installed in your domain (like mine), you need to create a Self-Signed certificate.

Let’s see how to proceed:

On the SSRS , start a PowerShell console as administrator and run the following commands:

  1. New-SelfSignedCertificate -CertStoreLocation cert: \ LocalMachine \ my -dnsname NAMESERVER -NotAfter (Get-Date) .AddMonths (60) (replace NAMESERVER with your Server name).
  2. $ pwd = ConvertTo-SecureString ” yourpassword ” -asplainText -force (replace your password with a complicated one of your choice).
  3. $ file = ” C: \ MyFolder \ SQLcertificate.pfx ” (this is the location where the certificate will be exported ).
  4. Export-PFXCertificate -cert cert: \ LocalMachine \ My \< Thumbprint created from the output of the first command> -file $ file -Password $ pwd ( Copy the certificate to the file created in step 3 ).
  5. Import-PfxCertificate -FilePath $ file cert: \ LocalMachine \ root -Password $ pwd ( imports the certificate into the SSRS ).

Now it’s time to copy the SQLcertificate.pfx file (point 3) into the VOS and proceed with its installation as indicated in the next lines.

  1. Double click on the file and in the first window choose ” Local Machine “.
  2. When prompted for the password , provide the one set in step 2.
  3. On the next screen select ” Place all certificates in the following store “, and after selecting Browse, select from the ” Trusted Root Certification Authorities ” list.
  4. Ok and after selecting Next, finish the installation.

2- SSRS configuration

Using the SSRS configuration manager it is possible to set the HTTPS connection as shown in images 1,2 and 3.

Picture 1

picture 2

Picture 3

3- Veeam ONE configuration

Images 4 and 5 show how to configure VOS to use SSRS to generate reports.

Picture 4

Picture 5

Note 1: From image 5 we can see that it is possible to test the connection via the Test Connection button.

Note 2: The details on which ports open in the firewalls are documented in the guide. ( helpcenter.veeam.com) ; remember to add port 443 šŸ™‚

See you soon

Veeam Dr Orchestrator v.5: VONE – Tagging

Today we will show how to tell Veeam Disaster Recovery Orchestrator which resources to use to start a Disaster Recovery plan.

Before reading this article, we suggest you read the previous article ( by clicking here ) which allows you to check the status of the VDrO Server.

The main tool of asset labeling is Veeam One, which is installed by default with the Veeam Disaster Recovery Orchestrator v.5.

The procedure is very simple:

After connecting via RDP to the VDrO Server select Veeam One Client on the desktop (see Figure 1)

Figure 1

After selecting the Business View item (bottom left), the resources to be labeled are:

  1. Clusters: this item identifies the Disaster Recovery and production vCenter resources (Figure 2)
  2. The DataStores: this item identifies the disk areas where the VMs will reside once turned on (Figure 3)
  3. Virtual Machines: this item identifies the VMs that guarantee service continuity in the event of a Disaster (Figures 4 and 5).

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5

Note 1 : The replication jobs have been configured on the embedded VBR of the VDrO server (see figure 6)

Figure 6

Note 2 : The tagging operation is discussed in a previous post available at the following link:

https://lnx.gable.it/home-page/veeam-availability-orchestrator-v-3-0-dr-from-replicas/

That’s all for today, see you soon!

Ransomware defense part 3: Monitoring and more

In the previous articles, I described some good ideas to design your architecture to keep it safer as much as possible.

One of the greatest challenges the IT guys have to face is finding the right balance among design, deployment and budget.

It’s very important to have the right tools to measure architectural behaviour. In this way you can easily:

  1. Watch from a privileged point of view the architecture. Let’s image to be on the top of a mountain watching people and goods moving at the bottom of the valley”
  2. Launch the defending actions when an attack is on-going. Referring to my previous example, it’s like blocking some passages to people and goods.
  3. When the attack is over remove any possible threat left (cleaning the passages).
  4. Do a thorough workup understanding of the weak points of your architecture and create a plan to reinforce it.

Monitor tools are your sentinels, but they need to be trained to trigger also the first defense lines. Imagine the new sentinel as a lieutenant warrior with a varied arsenal of weapons.
To be clearer: the required features monitor and respond to actions in function of the severity of the alarm.

But why is measuring so important? The reason is that you can define the KPI (Key performance indicator) for your environment and periodically check if the measures are respected.
In other words, it is possible to measure the service level and understand if the budget and skill invested in the company are enough to address the backup security challenges or if more tunings actions or some great changes are needed.

Let’s see how to use Veeam One to address this common request:

The Possible ransomware activity alarm keeps tracking of the Operating system of the VM.

As shown in picture 1 the monitored counters are by default CPU, Datastore write Rates and networking transmit rate (the case of copy offsite of sensible data for future blackmail).
The value counters can be changed to adapt to your own needs (Tuning phases) and more counters can be added to monitor more objects as shown in picture 2.

Picture 1

Picture 2

Another alarm already present in Veeam One is “Suspicious increment backup size“.

It checks if the restore point size is significantly different from the previously created ones.

The two main reasons I likeĀ  Veeam ONE are:

  1. Very easy to use
  2. Customizing the action after an alarm has been triggered

Thx to “customizing action” it’s possible to launch your antivirus/antimalware on the VMs belonging to the backup job that has triggered the suspicious alarm, or disconnect the repository from the network, or what else you wrote on your incident and rescue procedure.

The main point here is that you can manually click on it or automatically execute the action as shown in picture 3

Picture 3

Veeam One has furthermore an exhaustive technology of reporting.

If an alarm is a good way to intercept an error or a misconfiguration becauseĀ  it works in real-time, through the reporting it is possible to check the status of your protection (KPI, SLA….), understanding the exercise and security cost of your production environment and forecasting the new investment to implement in the next years.

Which are the reports to use?

All of them are important and an all report list is available from the following link: ReportsĀ 

Just as an example please check the use of the following

The next article will talk about which are the automatic procedures you can adopt to check your backup infrastructure.

Take care and see you soon